The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is an online journal supported by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). The Journal publishes original research and other evidence-based articles focusing on school/child nutrition programs that cover a wide variety of topics, including nutrition standards, nutrition education, administration, operations, food production and service, food safety, and marketing. With the exception of contributions developed as a result of projects funded by the U.S. government, manuscripts must be original and not submitted for publication elsewhere. Membership SNA is not a prerequisite for submitting manuscripts. Abstracts of articles published in this Journal are indexed in the ERIC database maintained by the U.S. Department of Education.

Primary Audience

The primary audience of The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management includes school/child nutrition professionals involved in administration and practice; public policy stakeholders at local, agency, state, regional and national/intergovernmental levels; and students, faculty, researchers, school community members, school administrators and organization/industry representatives with interest in child nutrition programs. The purpose of the Journal is to provide “useful and relevant” research or evidence-based information to these audiences.
Authors considering submission to the Journal should review archived issues.

Style of Manuscripts

All Journal manuscripts should follow American Psychological Association (APA) Style. Refer to the current American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual for additional information. Beginning January 1, 2021, all submissions should adhere to the 7th Edition of the APA Manual.

Before submitting a manuscript for publishing consideration, authors in the academic community may wish to have a local school/child nutrition representative review the paper for clarity and practical application. Researcher and practitioner collaboration, including community-based participatory research, is encouraged.

Manuscript Categories

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management accepts manuscripts in five categories:

Commentary, Current Issues, Research in Action, Research Briefs, and Practical Solutions.

Each manuscript is subject to a blind peer review process, considering many factors, including topic, relevance, originality, readability of the article, writing style, appropriate research methods and statistical analysis, results and discussion, conclusions, references and applications for child nutrition professionals. The Journal Editor initiates the peer-review process after screening to ensure compliance with Author Guidelines.

Word limits identified below for each category do not include abstracts, charts, tables, illustrations, and references. If manuscripts are not deemed appropriate for The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management or if they do not conform to the following guidelines, they will be rejected.

1.        Commentary:

  • It should be a brief opinion piece on a timely subject that stimulates thought, challenges the status quo, and provides suggestions for action or areas for research building on a foundation of existing evidence.
  • Charts/tables/figures/illustrations are not accepted with articles in this category.
  • Papers should include an unstructured Abstract of approximately 150 words that summarizes the purpose and recommendations for the subject. Include 4 to 6 keywords for article reference.
  • Article Length: up to 1,500.

2.        Current Issues:

  • May be a review of literature or a discussion of a subject of current interest or controversy.
  • The article may include references and charts/tables, but should not discuss methodology or data collection in detail.
  • Papers should include an unstructured Abstract of approximately 150 words that summarizes the purpose and recommendations for the subject. Include 4 to 6 keywords for article reference.
  • No more than three charts/tables/figures/illustrations should be submitted.
  • Article Length: up to 2,500.

3.        Research in Action:

Papers should report original research and include all of the following sections clearly labeled and in the order listed below.


  • State the rationale and purpose for the study and provide a brief discussion of relevant literature.
  • Percentage of articles: Approximately 15% or 600.


  • Briefly describe the research methods used in chronological order.
  • Indicate approval by an Institutional Review Board.
  • Use subheadings such as Instrument(s), Sample, Data Collection, and Data Analyses to organize this section and improve readability.
  • Percentage of the article: Approximately 15% or 600 words.

Results and Discussion-

  • Present findings of the research, discuss the significance and relate the new information to previous research conducted in the topic area.
  • Percentage of the article: Approximately 35% (not including charts, tables, and illustrations) or 1,400 words.

Conclusions and Application-

  • Suggest how readers can apply the research results to their school-based child nutrition operations or how findings can be used in policy improvements.
  • Discuss possible implications for future research.
  • Percentage of the article: Approximately 35% or 1400 words.

No more than four charts/tables/figures/illustrations should be submitted.

A structured Abstract of approximately 300 words is required with these headings:

  • Purpose/Objectives: Describe the purpose and objectives of the research.
  • Methods: Describe the research design, sample, data collection, and data analysis.
  • Results: Present the major results of the study.
  • Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals: Provide applications of the results for the field.
  • Key Words: Include 4 to 6 keywords for an article reference.

Article Length: up to 4,000 words (not including Abstract, charts, tables, and figures).

4.        Research Briefs:

These contributions:

  • Describe the development and validation of new measures and methods for use in research.
  • Satisfy all criteria for a Research in Action article, but a report on:
    1. results from a small or non-representative sample;
    2. secondary or ancillary results from a larger study; or
    3. topics considered of interest to a select group of readers.

The format of submission should follow the same as Research in Action contributions:

  • Sections to include:
    1. Structured Abstract
    2. Introduction (approximately 15%)
    3. Methods (approximately 15%)
    4. Results and Discussion (approximately 30 to 35%)
    5. Conclusions and Applications (approximately 30 to 35%) and
    6. References.
  • A maximum of two tables and one figure be allowed.
  • Text (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion, and Conclusions and Applications) of 2,000 words or less.

Structured Abstracts for Research Briefs of 300 words or less include the subheadings of Purpose/Objectives, Methods, Results, and Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals.

5.        Practical Solutions:

  • Papers in this category describe a specific problem or challenge with a discussion of solutions that led to enhanced operational effectiveness and efficiency.
  • The paper should describe the problem or challenge and its context, steps taken to resolve or correct the issues using a scientific method of inquiry, results of these actions, and a discussion of the impact of these, such as changes made in policy or procedures.
  • Papers should incorporate the following sections, with appropriate use of subheadings:
      1. Identification of the Problem/Challenge
      2. Actions Taken
      3. Results of Actions
      4. Applications/Impact/Next Steps
  • Charts/tables/figures/illustrations that support the text are limited to three.
  • A structured abstract of approximately 300 words with the same section headings used in the paper should be submitted:
  • Key Words: Include 4 to 6 words for an article.
    • Article Length: up to 2,500 words (not including abstract or references).

Manuscript Submission

Authors should prepare two separate files, one for the title page and one for the manuscript. Submit both files as Word document attachments in an email to the Editor.

  • Title Page Information:
    • Title of the article
    • category for which the manuscript is being submitted
    • word count for the total manuscript as well as each individual section
    • Name, professional suffixes, job title, place of employment, and e-mail addresses of all authors
    • Phone number of the corresponding author who should receive the print-ready manuscript for review.
    • Identify authors on the title page only to ensure a confidential review.
  • Manuscript File:
    • Double-space the manuscript
    • Use Times New Roman 12-point typeface with 1-inch margins.
    • Number each line of the manuscript copy down the left margin beginning with line 1
    • Insert page numbers.
    • The Manuscript File Includes the following:
      • Abstract
      • Running the title as a header on the article.
      • Text: Follow the requirements of the appropriate article category described above and the rules of APA Style.
          • Select tense carefully, and stay within the chosen tense. In general, use the past tense (Sanchez confirmed) or present perfect (researchers have confirmed) for the introduction, methodology, and results/discussion. Use the present tense to discuss the implications of the results, conclusions, and applications.
          • Write papers in the third person.
          • Use subheadings as appropriate
      • Acknowledgments: These may include acknowledgment of technical assistance, sources of financial support, or identification of a thesis, dissertation, presentation, or preliminary report used in the study.
      • References:
        • List only references cited in the text.
        • Type them double-spaced in alphabetical order.
        • Follow the most current APA Style for text citations (author-date) and references, and include a digital object identifier (DOI) or a valid URL (if no DOI is available) for all references.
        • Embed all links.
  • Tables:
    • Place each table double-spaced on a separate page at the end of the manuscript (in the same file)
    • Number sequentially
    • Identify each with a short title, using APA. For sample sizes of less than 100, the actual number of subjects or samples should be stated – not percentages.
    • Format using Microsoft Word.
    • Limit tables to those essential for clarification.
    • Indicate within the manuscript where each table should go for the final publication.
  • Illustrations, Figures and Charts:
    • These should also be on a separate page at the end of the manuscript (in the same file)
    • Number sequentially
    • Identify each with a short title, using APA Title is placed under the figure.
    • Indicate within the manuscript where each illustration/figure/chart should go for the final publication.

Review Process

  • The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is an online, peer-reviewed publication with two issues each year.
  • Authors will receive written acknowledgment of the initial receipt of their manuscript.
  • SNA holds the copyright on all material published in the Journal. Therefore, upon submission, the corresponding author must sign and date a statement that transfers the article’s copyright to the School Nutrition Association.
  • Manuscripts submitted by authors who were employees of the S. federal government at the time their work was written are not subject to the Copyright Act; therefore, these authors will not be required to submit the statement of copyright transfer but must inform the Editor of their status as federal employees.
  • The Editor sends all submitted manuscripts meeting Author Guidelines to peer reviewers who are experts in their fields. A double-blind review process is used. After peer review (usually 10 to 12 weeks after the date of the initial acknowledgment letter), the editor notifies the corresponding author whether the manuscript is accepted as is, requires minor revision, major revision, or is rejected.
  • If revisions are required, the author will receive reviewers’ evaluations with suggested revisions.
  • When the authors submit a revised paper, they should also submit a document that addresses all the revisions and corrections suggested by reviewers.

Final Checklist

Before submitting a manuscript for review, consult the following checklist of requirements to ensure the paper meets the Journal’s standards for publication.

The Editor can and will reject manuscripts that do not meet the specified criteria.

  • The title page file and manuscript file were prepared according to the guidelines.
  • The title Page contains all the required information.
  • Identification of manuscript category.
  • An Abstract page, with the title, abstract presented in specified form, and 4 to 6 keywords, is included within the manuscript file on a separate page.
  • Manuscript word count complies with guidelines.
  • Compliance with guidelines regarding tables/charts/figures/illustrations.
  • Compliance with APA style guidelines as outlined in the most recent Edition.
  • Presentation of work in an orderly and concise manner that will engage readers.
  • Numbered lines on the manuscript.
  • Times New Roman 12-point font is used.
  • The manuscript is double-spaced.
  • Acknowledgments are included if applicable.
  • All references are included and properly formatted.
  • DOI or URL for all applicable references is included.

To send submissions or for more information, contact:

Keith Rushing, PhD, RD

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